The traditional Ava ceremony – where ava plays a significant role in the social and cultural way of life or fa’a Samoa
APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 28 MAY 2018: Standards are now in place that guide the production and storage of Samoan Ava to ensure it is internationally recognized as a quality product and safe for consumption.
The Standards were launched by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labor last Friday.
The Standard was initiated by the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (SAME) and put together by the Samoa National Codex Committee to assist Ava producers and suppliers in Samoa to produce high quality Ava production for the benefits of customers.
The standard was developed through a consultative process with Samoa National Codex Committee and stakeholders in both Upolu and Savaii. This is considered a milestone in view of the recent banning of Ava exports from Samoa and the Pacific in the lucrative European market.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Private Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell encouraged the producers, farmers and exporters to ensure compliance with the Act to increase exports overseas to benefit the local economy.
The Minister also commended the tremendous support provided by the Australia and New Zealand- funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA).
The Standard is divided into 8 sections:
- Scope: Ava products used as food beverage or other products intended for human consumption.
- Description: The noble Ava varieties in Samoa are Ava Le’a, Ava La’au, Ava Loa, Ava Talo and Ava Mumu. We also have Ava products of 3 different types. Fresh Ava are Ava which has just been harvested and are thoroughly cleaned up by water. Dried Ava is the dried root of Ava in the form of chips when it is sundried, hot air dried or dried using other recognized methods. The Ava extracts when soluble components of fresh and dried Ava are extracted using water and served as a drink.
- Quality Factors: We look at different aspects of Ava by its colour, maturity before harvest, aroma, filth, moisture, powdered type, ash and Ava lactones.
- Contaminants: Ava products must comply with the maximum level of the Codex General Standard for the Contaminants & Toxins in Food and it must also comply with the maximum residue limits for pesticides established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
- Hygiene: The standard follows the International Codes of Practice recommended which are General Principles of Food Hygiene, Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Agricultural Practices.
- Traceability and Labelling: Ava products shall be established at all stages of production, processing and distribution. It must be well labelled for information of the customers/buyers.
- Methods of Analysis and Sampling: The analysis and sampling of Ava products must be in accordance with the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) and must comply with methods described in Annex A of the Codex
- Inspection: Food safety inspectors shall conduct inspections to ensure producers, handlers, processors and exporters are compliant with the Act and relevant regulations.
The Standard was developed to align the quality standards and activities to support the implementation and enforcement of these standards among Ava growers in the Pacific.